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Schmidtville heritage designation process moves forward

Council to decide on designation for 'charming little enclave' south of Spring Garden Road

3 min read
caption A heritage conservation district designation would preserve the integrity of the historic neighbourhood of Schmidtville.
Dominique Amit

The heritage advisory committee voted unanimously Wednesday to recommend that regional council designate Schmidtville a heritage conservation district.

Larry Haiven, founding member of the community group Friends of Schmidtville, welcomes the move. He served on the stakeholder steering committee and presented at the meeting.

“We applied about nine years ago for the heritage conservation district designation and today’s decision marks the beginning of the end of that process,” Haiven said Wednesday.

Schmidtville is located south of Spring Garden Road and is bordered by Queen Street, Clyde Street, Dresden Row and Morris Street. It’s considered the first private subdivision in Halifax.

“Schmidtville is the oldest, largest, contiguous historic neighbourhood in Halifax,” said Haiven.

caption Historic properties along Brenton Street in what used to be Schmidtville.
Dominique Amit

Elizabeth Schmidt subdivided Pedley’s Fields after her husband, Capt. Christian Schmidt, died in 1830. The 12 acres of grazing land was purchased by her father, James Pedley, in 1781.

The houses are mainly Georgian in style, but the neighbourhood also has some Victorian architecture.

Under the provincial Heritage Property Act, a heritage conservation district is defined as an urban or rural area with historic or architectural value. The designation would establish processes to control certain types of development such as demolition and exterior alterations to heritage buildings.

Lyndon Watkins has been advocating for the preservation of historic buildings in the area since he moved there in 1962. He addressed the committee on behalf of Friends of Schmidtville.

“Preserving Schmidtville means preserving a charming little enclave among the now overpowering highrise developments,” said Watkins.

In 2015, blades were placed on top of street name signs delineating the Schmidtville neighbourhood along Morris Street, Brenton Street, Dresden Row, Birmingham Street and Clyde Street.

caption A street sign indicates the boundaries of historic Schmidtville.
Dominique Amit

Schmidtville was the fourth cultural district in Halifax to receive this type of signage. Historic Irishtown, the Hydrostone heighbourhood and the Westmount neighbourhood have similar signs.

Halifax currently has one heritage conservation district that goes along Barrington Street, extending from Duke Street to Bishop Street.

With Wednesday’s vote, the matter proceeds to regional council, which will decide whether or not to initiate the process of making Schmidtville the second heritage conservation district.

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About the author

Dominique Amit

Dominique Amit is a journalism student at the University of King's College. She hails from Stellarton, Nova Scotia. She's interested in politics...

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